This movie is, by far, one of my favourite movies to date. It's so beautifully written, captured, scored and perfectly cast. It's definitely deserving of a 5 star rating. It vastly shows the difference between the Japanese culture to the western world and how, even within a country with so much history... how some can be so loyal to their old ways, yet others who are so willing to leave it behind to join with the new.
Tom Cruise may be the star in this movie, but in my personal opinion, it is Ken Watanabe who captures this movie in all its glory. He is charming, charismatic and most definitely captivating in his debut role for western cinema. He plays the character of Katsumoto, the General in the Bushidou Samurai who's views on life are admirable who looks at his enemy Algren (Tom Cruise), and instead of the brutality of wars in the western world, takes him prisoner but treats him with the same respect anyone would a welcome guest in your home, while learning from him and his culture as well as allowing Algren to do the same with theirs.
Algren, for sure, is a soul who's lost his path. A life time of savage wars taking its toll on him leads him to sink lower and lower into a pit of self-loathing and without a care in the world, for nobody... not even himself. It is only until finding himself held captive by the Samurai he releases there is more to life than what he has ever known. Finding peace and tranquility within his strange surroundings and inhabitants, he slowly begins to find his path once again and soon realises it's a much stranger destiny that he would've ever guessed for himself.
"The Last Samurai" isn't 100% in its history, but then, a politically correct Hollywood movie isn't always the right way to go. I believe so wholeheartedly with this one. If you want to see a movie that is pretty much all true references to the Samurai, maybe this film isn't for you. As a lot of people know, the Japanese are a proud race and teaching a non-Japanese the ways of the Samurai would not happen. Even in today's societies. But without such a small thing, the movie wouldn't be quite so beautifully captivating as it is.
The movie will touch your heart and really make you think about a culture other than your own and what people with a dedication live and die for. An astounding creation. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as i did and still do.